“If you live on the West Coast, you’ve probably noticed the explosion of Korean taco trucks, one Asian fusion trend I’m happy to enjoy,” writes Laura B. Russell in her new cookbook, “The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen” (Celestial Arts, $22.99). “Sweet or spicy Korean meats wrapped in warm corn tortillas, topped with a touch of something crisp makes a brilliant combination and darned fine snack! Look for very small (5-inch diameter) corn tortillas, larger ones will mask the flavor the chicken. Don’t skip the lime wedges for serving; a little squeeze of lime juice adds acidity and mixes with the kimchi to form a sauce.”
If you live in San Antonio and have tried the Korean food from the Seoul Grill truck, you know exactly what she means.
Korean-Style Chicken Tacos
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
3 tablespoons mirin
3 tablespoons Korean chili powder or substitute 2 1/2 teaspoons paprika mixed with 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Small corn tortillas (about 5 inches diameter), for serving
1/2 English cucumber, cut into matchsticks
1 cup bean sprouts
1/2 cup chopped kimchi
Lime wedges, for serving
In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, ginger, mirin, chili powder, sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil and black pepper. put the chicken in a glass baking dish or a gallon-size resealable bag and add the marinade. Marinate the chicken for up to 1 hour at room temperature, or refrigerate for up to 24 hours. More time equals more flavor.
Preheat the grill to medium. (Keep the heat medium or the sugar in the marinade will burn.) Oil the grill racks. Remove the chicken from the marinade, wiping off any excess. Grill the chicken until cooked through, about 8 minutes per side. remove the chicken from the grill and cut it into bite-size pieces.
Wrap the tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave until hot, about 40 seconds. Alternatively, wrap them in aluminum foil and heat them in a 350-degree oven. For an entrée, spoon about 1/4 cup of the chicken onto each tortilla. Top the chiekn with some cucumber strips, bean sprouts and kimchi. Squeeze a little lime juice over the top. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 entrée servings or 6 appetizer servings.
From “The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen” by Laura B. Russell